Morning news as a gendered language practice

Year: 1994

Author: Kamler, Barbara

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

In this paper I examine how the language practice of morning news operates in the first month of school to construct gender. I will analyse the teacher talk surrounding the objects girls and boys bring to school, in order to make visible the variable and contradictory ways in which such talk positions girls and boys as gendered subjects.

The analytic of systemic functional linguistics (e.g., Halliday, 1985; Poynton, 1990) and feminist poststructuralism (e.g., Davies, 1989; Walkerdine, 1981; Gilbert, 1993) provides an important part of the method of this investigation of gendering. The analysis reveals that despite the best efforts of the classroom teacher, who was selected as an exemplary worker for gender equity, she was often powerless to resist the gendering of her classroom discourse, either because she was herself subject to powerful discourses or because there were subtler underlying gender issues of which she was unaware. This study raises the question about the practice of morning news and about the complex nature of the task facing teachers who work for gender reform.